RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: Mickey Spillane

From: Alan K. Rode (
Date: 28 Oct 2007

Along with a jillion other people, I got to spend a little time with Spillane during his last years. Without a doubt, he was one sweetheart of a guy.


As indicated, he give a hoot about critics of his work


He measured his self esteem as a writer (he disliked the term "author") solely on how many people bought his books.


Mickey's approach to writing was akin to mowing a lawn or selling cars. Writing was a mercantile trade and he was a working class guy.


He told me once, "Any book that takes longer than two weeks is a waste of time. Throw it in the trash".


Another Spillane missive:


"Every book of mine has a beginning, middle and an end. I try to make the ending better so people will go out and buy my next book. As R.H.Macy used to say, 'Never disappoint your customers'."


One can certainly debate the quality of Spillane's writing, then and now, but his success is unassailable.





Alan K. Rode




From: [mailto:] On Behalf Of JIM DOHERTY Sent: Sunday, October 28, 2007 8:03 AM To: Subject: RARA-AVIS: Re: Mickey Spillane



Re your comment below:

"What's perhaps more remarkable than the big sales of
'I, The Jury' is that fact that seven of Spillane's novels are listed as selling over 5,000, 000 copies."

In the '50's, of the ten best-selling novels ever publsihed (at least since records had been kept), seven were by Spillane. He'd only written seven novels by that time.

At some literary gathering, one incensed intellectual couldn't resist commenting to Spillane about how this success was proof of the debased standards of the Great Unwashed.

"What a terrible comment on the tastes of the general public," he said, "that of the the ten best-selling novels ever published, seven were written by you."

"Just be glad I didn't write three more," Spillane retorted.

As for the Corelli factor, Spillane already HAS lasted. I THE JURY was written more than six decades ago, and is still in print.

A few weeks after his death, his widow got a royalty check from Germany for $50,000. I think it was for MY GUN IS QUICK. A $50,000 royalty, from one country, for a book that's over a half-century old. How many of us would feel we'd been major successes if we got only half that, from the whole damned world, and never a cent more, for something we'd just written.

You may not like him, but nobody stays on top that long without having something on the ball.


__________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around http://mail. <>


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 28 Oct 2007 EDT